The Best Things I Ate This Month: June 2019
Nachos at 10 Barrel, tequila flan at Death by Tequila, and elote at Gravity Heights
Nachos @ 10 Barrel
At 10 Barrel Brewing in downtown San Diego, longtime local chef Tommy Fraioli is cooking bar food the way you always wanted bar food to be cooked. Just greasy enough, just not-recommended-by-doctors enough, and just chefy enough. Greens that don't look wilted and jaundiced. Those classic dishes—fried pickles, nachos, tacos, etc. But he's got a sous vide machine and the talent to use it. And these nachos are an example of blue-collar food with white-collar skills: Seasoned potato chips, marinated steak, jalapeños, blue cheese, a four-cheese blend that tastes like a spicier béchamel, bacon, and green onions. Some of the best nachos in town.
1501 E Street, Downtown
Tequila flan @ Death by Tequila
For this month’s review, I spent quality time in Encinitas at the Baja-Asian bistro from former Top Chef-er Angelo Sosa. It’s a place where the bar spills into the small dining room, so expect chatter and energetic night chaos. The best thing he serves is the ahi crudo, which comes in a cold broth of coconut milk, spices, and chiles (like a mix between a gazpacho and a panang curry), but this dessert is not to be missed. Flan is a Mexican classic, a south-of-the-border cousin to the panna cotta. His is made special with an añejo (aged) tequila caramel sauce that’s drizzled atop, and then the real showstopper—a heavy snow of shaved manchego cheese. It’s essentially salted caramel, a familiar sweet-savory approach to the Vermont specialty of hot apple pie and melted cheddar cheese.
569 South Coast Highway, Encinitas
Elotes @ Gravity Heights
Everyone remembers when they first heard of the idea: Corn with mayonnaise? Disgusting. And then a food-obsessive relative wouldn’t shut up about it, so you tried it—and your life was never the same. Elotes are something truly magical, the fat of the mayo mixing with the sweetness of the corn, the dry-salty crumble of aged Cotija cheese, spice coming from chiles, freshness in the form of cilantro, and acid from fresh-squeezed lime. And at Gravity Heights—the new brewery concept from the owners of Whisknladle and Catania—this is one of the best things on the menu. Nearby Qualcomm engineers will be feasting on these all summer on the large, shaded patio.
9920 Pacific Heights Boulevard, Sorrento Valley